LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers have pulled off their share of comebacks throughout this 12 months’s postseason. They could have hit the wall throughout their marathon run.
Los Angeles — taking part in its seventeenth recreation in 36 days — misplaced 84-80 to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday evening in Recreation 4 of the Western Convention finals. The Clippers have been down 2-0 in every of their sequence this postseason, however are looking at a 3-1 deficit for the primary time with Recreation 5 set for Monday evening in Phoenix.
“We’ve been down earlier than. It’s robust. We’ve had our backs towards the wall and we’ve been in elimination video games,” mentioned Reggie Jackson, who scored 20 factors.
The Clippers rallied from a 16-point deficit within the third quarter to get inside one, however couldn’t full the comeback. They went 0 for 12 from the ground with an opportunity to tie or take the lead, which is the worst taking pictures stretch over the previous 25 postseasons, based on ESPN Stats & Info.
LA obtained inside 71-70 with 10:11 remaining on George’s free throw, however neither staff scored once more for 3 minutes, 49 seconds till Chris Paul threw it to Deandre Ayton for an alley-oop to place Phoenix again up by three. The Clippers missed seven photographs and dedicated two turnovers throughout that close to four-minute stretch.
“We have been simply attempting to play by means of it, get a breakthrough and play sooner. It was robust to get it to go down,” mentioned George, who scored 21 factors however was 5 of 20 from the sector and made solely one among his 9 3-point makes an attempt.
For a staff that hasn’t had any relaxation between sequence, the hectic schedule may be lastly taking a toll, particularly towards a Suns squad that had seven days of relaxation after sweeping the Denver Nuggets within the second spherical.
The dearth of power was particularly telling in two areas which were bedrocks of success for the Clippers this season: free throws and 3-point taking pictures.
The Clippers set an NBA document totally free throw accuracy in the course of the common season (83.9%), however have been 21 of 32 on Saturday evening, together with 8 of 13 within the fourth quarter.
They have been far worse from past the arc, going 5 of 31. In accordance with Sportradar, that 16.1% taking pictures proportion is tied for sixth worst in an NBA playoff recreation the place a staff has tried 30 or extra 3-pointers.
“It could possibly be. However it’s no excuses presently of the season,“ Lue mentioned in regards to the fatigue issue. ”Guys could possibly be somewhat drained. We’ve simply obtained to combat by means of.”
The Clippers are the primary staff to lose the primary two video games in a sequence and are available again to win twice in a postseason. They are going to try to develop into the fourth to be down 3-1 in a convention remaining and rally. The final time it occurred was within the 2016 West finals, when Golden State beat Oklahoma Metropolis.
“There’s no room for error. We’ve simply obtained to take it a recreation at time now,” mentioned Terance Mann, who had 12 factors off the bench.
“Simply obtained to try to go get Recreation 5 and be able to attempt to pressure a Recreation 7.”
It additionally stays to be seen if Kawhi Leonard may be again. The All-Star ahead has missed six straight video games on account of a sprained proper knee after he averaged 30.4 factors within the postseason.
George mentioned he wasn’t positive on Leonard’s standing.
“If he’s not 100% we don’t need him on the market. That’s a brother and teammate. His well being long run is extra essential proper now,” George mentioned.
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